Wednesday, May 22, 2019

$3.2 Million More City Money for Shamplain Parkway at June 3 Meeting--Developments This Month

Good Day Parkway Community:

As many of you know the Pine Street Coalition leadership decided last week to go forward now to appeal the administrative decision by federal officials this month allowing the current Parkway design to go to construction. We anticipate being in federal court to try to stop the project construction early next month by addressing the  base project documents as stale, invalid, obsolete, and past usable date. 
Seven Days provides a rather one-sided report this week on the project:

Pine Street leaders first stated this action last Wednesday at Chittenden Country Regional Planning Commission Board of Directors meeting. You can view the statements of Pine Streeters Tony Redington, Charles Daggitt, Carolyn Bates, and Steve Goodkind at   Start at 1:53 minutes, the public forum.   Considerable background and history for the "Shamplain Parkway" as is gets addressed.

One interesting new fact from documents obtained from the Federal Highway Administration recently is the revision of the project in 2015-2016 when we are told by Mayor Weinberger pedestrian and bicyclist improvements were made.  In fact, the design at that time which did have a sidewalk on the west side of Pine Street from Lakeside Avenue to Kilburn St./Curtis Lumber was removed and the project now forces pedestrians to share a path with high speed bicyclists, E-bikes and E-scooters. This design change obviously degrades project for those on foot, and adds stress and higher injury rates to those who walk!

Our Pine Street re-design guidelines specifically endorsed by the BTV Walk Bike Council in 2016 feature both a sidewalk and an off-street bike path (properly lit and maintained for year round use) the length of Pine Street from Queen City Park Road along the Parkway route to Kilburn/Curtis Lumber.  Among other obvious changes all can support in redesign: (1) a safe and separate roundabout entry our new City Market and Petra Cliffs; (2) one quality street instead of two between Home and Flynn Avenues; (3) keeping connectivity for all modes between the bottom of Pine Street and Queen City Park Road/KMart Plaza which is permanently severed by the current design; and (4) converting new injury generating signalized intersections to roundabouts which in Vermont downtowns in a half century of testing recorded not a single bicycle crash, just one minor pedestrian injury, and four minor injuries to car occupants--overall just one injury per roundabout per decade compared to the 17 mostly BTV signalized intersections generating an average of one injury a year! Geico, AAA, AARP and FHWA today call for roundabouts first and converting signals to roundabouts with a resulting about 90% decrease in serious injuries and fatalities.
Of course the traffic signals and wasted construction of up to 1.5 lane miles of asphalt build in decades of climate emissions increase versus our City's Climate Action Plan calling for decreases which in this case means less roadway and emission reducing roundabouts. 

The City now proposes to spend another $3.2 million City tax dollars for the Parkway—much of this could be avoided with a reduced design. The June 3 City Council meeting will be asked to approve this money. Please consider attending this meeting as it is really an opportunity for this generation's voice to be heard on this project---the last public hearing on the Parkway was in 2006, a year before the first iPhone and the first protected bike lane (cycle track) network built in a North American community, Montreal. 

You can help in several ways—sign the online petition (address below), attend the June 3 city council meeting, and/or contact your city council member.